Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)

The thermometer on my front porch read 110 F this afternoon. I had just come in from checking it when I saw a reclusive Yellow-billed Cuckoo balancing on the rim of our front bird bath. He drank for a long time. They're good-sized birds, heard more often than seen.

Yesterday, a consistent screech in the thicket behind the house pulled me, along with all the small birds in the neighborhood, out to look for danger. A snake? A cat? A hawk? The screech was that kind of death warning.

What I saw was a juvenile Yellow-billed Cuckoo making its first attempts at take-offs and landings. Awkward, each landing a riot of flapping and swaying. But not dangerous, except, perhaps, to the cuckoo.

After a while the screecher gave up and we all went back to our jobs--looking for food, finding water, tending fledglings, writing books...the beauty and drama of life flowing through us.

My thanks to Tripp Davenport for the use of his photo for this post. For more of his images, click this link for his Flickr stream: .


  1. You have so much action in your yard and you describe it so well!
    even in 110 degree heat! A bird bath sounds like a must! Can you see your bird bath from your windows? More than one?

    best birding

  2. Thanks Squizel! We're amazed at the birds we've seen at our house. We've done a couple of things--planted habitat and created water sources. The location is a lot of it--not far from a river,in a migration zone, and backing up to a ranch with acres of habitat. Most of my bird pictures are taken through the windows (I need a longer lens...).


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